Jeff McSwain, "Sheep or Persons? What Luke 15 has to say about Agency and Persons with Intellectual Disabilities," Participatio Supplemental Volume 3, "A Theological Tribute to James B. Torrance" (2014): 165-181.
McSwain, Jeff. "Sheep or Persons? What Luke 15 has to say about Agency and Persons with Intellectual Disabilities." Participatio Supplemental Volume 3, "A Theological Tribute to James B. Torrance" (2014): 165-181.
Reprinted as #2016-JM-1.
James Torrance was a man of love. He loved God and he loved people. One of the greatest gifts his son Alan could have given me was an open invitation to call upon James in Edinburgh while I was studying at St. Andrews. Of all the things James taught me during my visits, the most memorable recurrent theme was: “we must give people their humanity.” In other words, from the outset we must graciously grant people their truest humanity as defined by their brother and High Priest, the Son of God and Son of Man, Jesus Christ.
People with cognitive disabilities are perhaps the most marginalized subgroup in society. Reality Ministries in Durham, NC was spawned in part by the scriptural/theological principles so passionately communicated by James Torrance regarding the ongoing high priestly ministry and vicarious humanity of Jesus Christ. Sharing life’s challenges and joys alongside of our friends with intellectual developmental disabilities continues to teach all of us at Reality Ministries invaluable lessons about real personhood. In the spirit of James Torrance, this essay is about learning to relish and repose in the unconditional freeness of the gospel; more than that, it is an urge to consider flipping the conventional model of evangelical gospel proclamation.